Friday, January 13, 2012
The Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia
C/O The Archdiocese of Philadelphia
222 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1299
Re: Closure of St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls
First and foremost, welcome to Philadelphia: the City of Brotherly Love and the City of Neighborhoods. Unfortunately for you, in less than five (5) short months into your tenure here you have been thrown into the Lion’s Den. We all realize that you, in your position as leader of one of the largest Archdiocese in the United States, have a heavy load to lift and pray that you do so wisely. Please accept this letter on behalf of the Mayfair Civic Association (“MCA”) which represents the neighbors of the Mayfair Community in Northeast Philadelphia. This is a community that was built and stands around the Catholic Church, myself a product of well over a decade of Catholic education via newly merged St. Matthew Elementary School, Father Judge High School and LaSalle University.
Many of our constituents previously attended Cardinal Dougherty or North Catholic for High School or St. Bernard, St. Leo or St. Bartholomew for grade school. These closures were hard to swallow, but understanding went into them because the neighborhoods around these institutions changed drastically, nevertheless, that is the not the same with St. Hubert; a school that has educated females in our community for decades. The closing of this school will have our neighbors questioning the future of their children’s education as well as life within our neighborhood and this school was, in some cases, one of the only things keeping them here. Without this reason to stay, many will push off further into the suburbs or out of the Archdiocese entirely opting to relocate over the bridge to South Jersey. This exodus will inflict significant pain on our community and we may not be able to recover.
We realize that the “Blue Ribbon Commission” worked long and hard on their decision, however, when looking over the members of this commission, one item that was ever-present was that this commission seemed to lack any member with significant history or background in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. It is these neighborhoods that gave rise to the Catholic Church; it is these neighborhoods that have formed who we are, and it is these neighborhoods that make Philadelphia what it is. Therefore, by closing St. Hubert and countless other schools in the region, you will be dealing a death blow to the neighborhoods and perhaps putting the final nail in the coffin for the City of Neighborhoods. Your Excellency, we ask that you, as our new leader take some time with the Commission’s finding and get to know the neighborhoods that many members of your flock call home. Once you have been there we are sure that you will understand what St. Hubert and the Catholic Church mean to our home.
Very truly yours,
Joseph J. DeFelice, Esq.
Cc: Mike Scotese,
President, Mayfair Business Association
Chairman, Mayfair Community Development Corporation
All Area Elected Officials